Back on campus, and back to stress!

So you’ve arrived on campus to begin or continue your undergraduate studies! Perhaps you are a returning graduate student focused on completing your education and moving on with life! There is so much to do, and no time in which to get it done. The first few days can be hectic until you are settled into a routine. And, then what?   Suddenly what appeared to be an easy transition has become a life challenge, and you wonder how you will ever manage the process and get through each day you’re your mind intact.

Sound familiar? That is because college can be a challenging and stressful time for students, both grad and undergrad, and learning how to adapt while creating work/life balance is critical to one’s success and survival. And, it does not stop with work/life; what about academics and social activities? What about sports, family, and more?

I’ve heard students say that college life is like a tightrope; there are so many entities tugging at you for time and attention, and you may be overwhelmed. You have your academic workload, your growing social circle and all their activities, your friends and family back home, career and/or grad school decisions to make, your physical fitness to attain or maintain, work hours, and your spiritual well-being to nurture. Add roommate problems and boyfriend/girlfriend relationship issues, and now you know why you are over your head with concern.

How can you cope? Use these 5 simple tips for finding life balance in college, and begin to deal with the distractions that you would otherwise face:

  • Have realistic goals
  • Develop good study habits
  • Manage your time wisely
  • Try healthy eating
  • Exercise and learn when to say no, and when to let go!

Back on campus and back to stress…make an effort to remain stress-free and on-track this semester!

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Mindset…the shift that ensures success

As an eimagesmployee, perhaps you punched a timeclock, participated in huddles, followed a routine, listened to/or gave orders, and assumed that the outcomes would be great. Unless you were a director, you probably were not concerned about the bottom line. And, perhaps as a new employee, you waited to be told what to do next.  Unlike employees who work for others, you are now an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are in charge of their successes and failures.  As an entrepreneur, it’s time to shift that mindset because regardless of the type of business you are in, you are the boss/the CEO/the brand.  Ask Sharon about the  7 simple steps that can shift your mindset and ensure your success.

 

What’s your life purpose?

During the thirty-five plus years that I have devoted to being a nurse, I have interviewed many older adults (over the age of 65) about what has brought meaning and purpose to their lives. The specialty of home health nursing gave me the time and experience I needed to research this topic. Combining their wisdom with my studies in the fields of adult development and counseling psychology as a nurse practitioner, I offer my findings in this chapter. I would ask the question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?”

Recurrent themes were woven throughout all of the interviews. Many patients suggested that they would be more relaxed in order to avoid stress as well as take better holistic care of themselves, attending to their bodies, minds, and spirits. Self-reflection was another important theme as was their emphasis on building relationships and developing positive memories from their lives.

After asking my elderly patients these reflective questions over the years, I concluded that purpose naturally resides within each person’s soul. I observed that all people have a desire to contribute in life, but sometimes get lost along the way. Every one of us wants to leave footprints and feel that our lives have made an impact on the world.

I have found that life purpose is not simply our work lives, but a combination of all aspects of our lives that makes them fulfilling. Life purpose is what gives meaning to our lives and a reason why we are here on earth. Each individual life has a natural reason for being. From birth to death, each of us is on a quest to discover that reason. Many never do, yet our world is incomplete until each person discovers their own divine purpose.

Some questions you may ask yourself while getting in touch with your life purpose are: What gives your life meaning; what do you notice as the main themes in your life, and what is your contribution meant to be during your lifetime? In short, it is time to define and describe your life’s purpose!

 

How difficult are the people in your workplace?

Difficult people generate difficult work settings; a workplace may seem like a battlefield with a conflict at every turn in the road or within each department. Conflict is inevitable, and it does not mean that it is time to seek another job. Instead, remember that it takes two to tango. So, own your part in the disagreement so that you may move on. Allow a cooling off period. I recall a time at a prominent medical school in the Chicago area when one of the clinical chairs was a source of constant conflict. I found it beneficial to type a response, print it out, lock it in my drawer, and shred it the following morning. My assistant found it beneficial to hang a soft dartboard behind her door. In the center, she placed a headshot of the offender. She actually threw darts, removing them before leaving her office. It was extreme, but it gave her great relief from an otherwise confrontational situation. And then, address the issue and apologize as appropriate. Time does heal wounds as you both move ahead.

 

What is your follow-up plan?

I recently had the privilege of presenting “The Fortune is in the Follow-Up” to attendees at the National Nurses in Business Association annual convention in Las Vegas.  Participants included nurse business owners as well as aspiring business owners, and each of them collected cards, names, and contacts.  imagesuzntzxmc

Chances are that you, too, make contacts at various professional meetings.  Chances are that they are stacked on your desk, or in a basket, awaiting some sort of follow-up.

How would you like to capture repeat and referral business?  From calling on former customers to checking in on new leads, it’s critical to stay in touch with people on a regular basis.  Yes, there are ways to keep in touch without becoming a pest, or that dreaded caller.  Weinstein started to build her speaking fortune when she realized the value of the follow-up.  Did you know that the simple act of following up and consistently staying in touch with clients, prospects and referral sources will improve sales performance, increase client retention and create loyalty?  In my session, I identified why we struggle with your follow-up practices and how to develop strategies to improve follow-up right now. The fortune is in the follow-up; it’s high time to learn how to reap those rewards! To learn more, contact me via twitter or email (@bisforbalance)

Stress Management…what does it look like?

From an unrealistic workload due to inadequate staffing and excessive paperwork; fluctuating schedules associated with changing shifts; mandatory overtime; floating without appropriate orientation; and moral and ethical dilemmas, nurses, first responders, police officers, and pilots see and feel it all.  Who is the picture of stress management? The answer is Sharon Weinstein, author of B is for Balance, 2nd edition…12 steps to creating balance at home and at work.

Additionally, being single, rearing young families, and/or caring for aging parents are common life circumstances with unique psychosocial and logistical challenges. Many professionals have sought flexible, virtual arrangements in pursuit of balanced personal lives. We all have personal and career goals. By visualizing those goals, we empower ourselves to achieve them. Taking small action steps toward our goals puts them within our reach.  How do you manage your stress? What small action steps have you taken?

Why is Sharon the ‘look’ of stress management? It’s simple – she put the B into Balance, and she works at it every single day!  Do you?

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Yes or No…setting boundaries!

Women are Earth personalities.  What does that mean?  According to Ancient Chinese Medicine and the Theory of the Five Elements, women do for others before they do for themselves.  The lunches are made, the laundry is done, the lawn is mowed, the homework is checked, the refrigerator is stocked, the trash is emptied, and the dog’s walked.  A simple checklist of everything for everybody, except oneself…and that is why a woman is ‘earthy.’  In nursing, it is clear. The nurse cares for others before caring for him/herself.  The nurse always says, ‘Yes’ to the extra shift, overtime, assisting peers.  The nurse probably also says, ‘Yes’ to the relative in need of a place to stay, some money to tide him over, a friend in need of a ride, or a child in need of a hug.

Everybody knows someone who has asked, and to whom we just cannot say, ‘No.’  In B is for Balance, I address why it is okay to say, ‘No’ and the fact that ‘No is a complete sentence.’  It does not require justification, excuses, reasons, or supporting documentation.  It is simply a ‘No.’

It is essential to set boundaries in your personal and professional life.  imagesHow does one begin?

  • Identify your limits (know what makes you stressed and uncomfortable
  • Pay attention to your feelings
  • Give yourself permission
  • Consider your environment

Like you, I probably said, ‘Yes’ much too often.  I was the one I just described.  I worked the extra hours.  I took home the assignment that was due the next day.  I stayed late to help my peers.  I went out at 11pm to Walmart in search of a lunchbox for a visiting grandchild.  I returned the books to the library, completed the website revisions, led the project team, and…I was known as the ‘finisher.’  My former boss often referred to me in that way to describe the fact that I left nothing undone, and I could be counted on to get the job done…no matter what it might take in terms of time, money, energy, spirit.

And what did I get in return?  I had great satisfaction in the fact that my work was complete, required little change, was timely, and that I could be counted on.  I loved that feeling, and I loved helping others.  But, one day I realized that I could no longer work 100-hour weeks and that I could no longer be the only one on a project team completing the project.  I realized that I had no time for myself, for my family, and for the life that I wanted to live. I needed to set boundaries!donotcross

Now, I regret the times when I failed to say no just because of peer pressure. Let’s learn to face the music here: saying yes to everyone is stressful. It’s selfish. And it’s definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health!

My friend, it’s time you start saying no. No to people you don’t like, no to parties you don’t even fancy and certainly no to activities that don’t make you a better person.

How does one escape a trap that one has built?  How does one shift the mindset to learn to say, ‘No.’   Go ahead and say no, because:

You don’t owe anybody anything.

  1. You can never control everybody’s opinion of you.
  2. You’re the only one who can really identify your priorities in life.
  3. You’re your number one citizen.
  4. Life moves on.

The Disease to Please

Millions of people suffer from what author/psychologist Harriet Braiker describes in her book of the same name.  These ‘people-pleasers’ think that they are making others happy, when they are actually making themselves miserable.  Saying ‘No’ is a generous thing to do…it frees us from making a shallow commitment and ensures that when we do say ‘Yes’ – our heart is in it!

So where do we begin?  I suggest the following:

– Declare a “no phone zone.” Whether it’s your bedroom or the dinner table, just say no.  That goes for your kids as well; let them keep their technology away from the dinner table and enjoy family time.

– Carve out four hours for a time-out each weekend!  Enjoy family, friends, the news, or a show  – and be truly offline.

–  Schedule time with friends – just to catch up or just to chat!   Yes, pick up that phone, and not to text or email, but simply to place a call.  Schedule a coffee meeting, or lunch out.  Revisit the schedule and get to know one another again.

Now that you know how – will you implement these simple steps?  Will you treasure that Earth Personality that allows you to do all for others – but take it a step beyond and do something for yourself.

About Sharon…

Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, RN, CRNI, FACW, FAAN, CSP 

Sharon is an energetic, motivating and highly skilled professional speaker and author specializing in work/life balance.  After all, she wrote the book.   She is the founder of SharonMWeinstein, an LLC and two not-for-profits. 

She holds the coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned international recognition for professional speakers. This makes her one of only 12% of all speakers to hold this designation and one of only 21 nurses in the world with this credential.

She uses her nursing platform to educate others about the need for work/life balance, fatigue and stress management, and gratitude.  A past president of the Infusion Nurses Society and past chair of the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation, she is best known as the author of Plumer’s Principles and Practice of Infusion Therapy and B is for Balance.  She is Vice President of NSA-DC and Dean of the Speaker’s Academy.

She rode a camel in Cairo, was a delegate to the Women’s Conference in Beijing, designed the foreign patient department at the Kremlin Hospital in Moscow, and played with the penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park, Australia.